Please describe your current role:
I serve as executive director of Michigan Saves, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to stimulate and support investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems in homes, businesses, and public buildings. I am honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and business partners to drive meaningful change to address some of the most challenging problems facing the state of Michigan.
How did you get into the energy industry?
I had a keen interest from an early age, instilled by my mom who was a supporter of passive solar and radiant floor heating before it was considered mainstream. I spent the beginning of my career in leadership positions in information technology and data analytics. During the recession, I was downsized. While I always loved leading teams, I wanted to spend the rest of my career focusing in an industry that was personally more meaningful. After a lot of research, networking, and soul-searching, I knew that I wanted to make a difference for future generations, and sustainable energy was the topic I was going to put my time and energy into.
What has been the key to your success?
Two things that are related. One is to listen to your inner voice. Be aware of what’s really driving you, holding you back, making you uncomfortable, etc. Address those things in the moment to help steer your thoughts and actions authentically. The second is to do what you love and love what you do. [Mary recommends the book Now, Discover Your Strengths.]
What inspires you in your work?
Part of what led me to energy work is a love of nature. I’m inspired by the beauty of our lakes, forests, and the smell of summer nights. I am also lucky enough to have three beautiful grandchildren. I’m committed to contribute in whatever way I can to leave the earth more healthy and sustainable for those wonderful grandchildren and for all future generations. And, I’m constantly inspired by the generosity, drive, and altruism of others I work with and meet in the industry.
What would you tell a young person considering a career in energy?
Take time to find an aspect of the very broad energy industry that inspires you. Learn all you can about your role, your company, the industry. Network with those that inspire you – people are so generous with their time when you ask them to share their stories. Make yourself a valuable contributor to your organization and the industry at large. And, most importantly, commit to developing and growing your inner voice and building your communication style to be authentically and uniquely you. I believe that you are at your best when you do what you love, and when you are free to be completely and wholeheartedly you.
Executive Director, Michigan Saves
Advisory Board Member, AWE
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